Food Pet

Is it Safe for Cats and Dogs to Be Vegetarian? This is the explanation

After stopping eating meat for ethical, health or environmental reasons, some owners kadlecmichal want their pets to eat plant-based foods.

However, is it safe for some animals such as dogs and cats who habitually eat meat to no longer eat animal protein?

Quoting from Live Science, Friday (14/4/2023), this can be done but only for some pets, and not all animals can do this. Additionally, it is never recommended to subject pets to a vegetarian diet.

However, is it safe for some animals such as dogs and cats who habitually eat meat to no longer eat animal protein?
Plant-based diets are still new and the science is still evolving, so ensuring your pet gets enough essential nutrients may require a little help from an expert.

Many people visit Dr. Lindsey Bullen, a North Carolina-based veterinarian and certified animal nutritionist. One in about 100 people in the US, makes this mistake.

“I think some clients feel they can do better,” Bullen told Live Science.

“But they actually don’t know what to do to start a diet for their pets,” he said again.

Improving a pet’s diet without expert help can often be detrimental to a pet’s health. Animal protein which is usually eaten by cats and dogs, which currently contains many of the amino acids needed by the pet’s body, and these substances are more abundant than usual, is contained in vegetable protein.

Pets who don’t get enough protein can experience weight loss, muscle loss, poor digestion, and even fluid buildup in their chest or stomach, according to the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University, in Massachusetts.

Cats, in particular, need taurine, an amino acid found in meat protein and apparently they can’t live without it.

Cats can experience poor neurological function, reproductive problems and heart disease, Bullen said.

Even the wrong balance of minerals in a plant-based pet diet can be a problem. For example, an incorrect calcium to phosphorus ratio, can increase the risk of bone fractures in dogs and cats, as well as stunt the growth of puppies or kittens, Bullen said.

But a plant-based pet diet is doable. “Vegetarian diets can be used safely in cats and dogs,” says Bullen.

“Veganism can be done safely in dogs but is very difficult in cats,” he said again.

Cats are carnivorous animals, so many of their nutritional needs are related to ingredients made from meat. As a result, cats need more additives to make a vegan diet complete and balanced.

Bullen even prescribes plant-based diets in certain cases, including for pets who have skin or gastrointestinal food allergies to meat products. (The dog himself has both types of allergies and is on a diet based on hydrolyzed soy).

If you’re planning to switch to a plant-based wet or dry food for pets, Bullen urges consumers to buy from brands that have conducted digestibility studies, ingredient interaction studies and feeding trials on their plant-based options. But before doing this, it is important to ensure a plant-based diet, suitable for pets.

An expert, such as the veterinarian or nutritionist they consult, will first consider the pet’s overall health, including age, environment, and other health issues.

If the pet is healthy, it is likely that a well-formulated plant-based diet could work for them.

If a vegetarian or vegan diet is a safe option, the next step is for a veterinarian or nutritionist to put together a very specific plan. For example, when Bullen formulates a homemade vegetarian pet diet for a client, he provides a complete list of ingredients, including proportions, clear cooking instructions, feeding instructions, and monitoring guidelines.

She also explains the specifics of each ingredient, including the brand of tofu or the percentage of fat in the cottage cheese. Bullen encourages owners to take an active role in their pets’ nutrition, but he also warns against anthropomorphizing, or assigning human traits to animals.

“Dogs and cats are very different from the human species,” he said. “Your goals (for yourself) are great, but we have to keep pets happy and healthy,” he said again.

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